Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday, expressed confidence in the ability of the new Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal, to deliver on the enormous task before him in effectively and efficiently policing the State, saying that the security of lives and property in the State remain paramount.
Ambode, who spoke at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja when he received the immediate past Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Fatai Owoseni, and the new CP alongside top officers of the Command, said there was no doubt about the enormous responsibility before the new police boss, but that it was gratifying that he (Edgal) was very much familiar with the security architecture of the State.
The governor recalled how security was made one of the focal objectives of his administration since inception, saying that the development was designed as part of efforts to build a solid foundation for the growth of Lagos economy and welfare of the people.
He specifically thanked Owoseni for contributing immensely to the security of the State during his tenure as the CP, and wished him success in his future endeavours.
While officially welcoming the new CP to the State, Governor Ambode acknowledged the fact that Edgal had been very familiar with the terrain having been in the State for long, and assured him of the support of the State Government to ensure his success in office.
He said: “We are comfortable that he (Edgal) does not have to start trying to learn the ropes because he is very familiar with the security architecture of the State and the enormity of the assignment that has been given to him. On our part, we will ensure that we support him as well as men and officers of the State Command.
“What is most important to us is that we must keep the city safe. Lagos must be safer, Lagos must be cleaner and it is based on that we can invite investors to come in. That is when we can project our 24/7 economy and so we cannot afford not to have a vibrant police force. More importantly is the fact that we in government have decided that without a safe city, we cannot have a prosperous State and the prosperity and the peace that Lagos is enjoying now is actually founded on that fabric of the safety of lives and property,” he said.
The governor also assured that his administration will support the present effort of the Nigeria Police to scale up community policing.
“We will give the new CP all the support and I want to also say that we will support community policing. You must have seen that in our action which was why we established the Neighborhood Safety Corps and we want to thank the Nigerian Police for supporting that.
“The establishment of the Corps is part of the fabric of the community policing that the Nigerian Police Force is now projecting and we will support it with materials, resources and also ensure that every community is properly policed and in that, we will have the peace that everybody need to go about their activities without let or hindrance.
“We are very emphatic on law and order and we will ensure that our judicial system works in convergence with the Nigerian Police so that we can keep the city safe and more prosperous,” Governor Ambode said.
Besides, Ambode commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris for the positive trend and improvement in security that the country had witnessed in recent time.
Earlier, Owoseni thanked Ambode for the support the Police Command enjoyed during his tenure, especially the massive procurement of equipment and logistics for officers, saying that the gesture contributed largely to the achievements recorded in the last two years.
On his part, Edgal assured that he would hit the ground running and employ various means including community policing to ensure that Lagos emerges as the safest city to live and do business in Africa.
He said Lagos, being a cosmopolitan city, must be policed based on dynamics required, and that he would bring his passion to bear to ensure that residents of the State can sleep with their two eyes closed.
He specially appreciated Ambode for the support the police had enjoyed in recent times and pleaded for the continuation of the kind gesture, just as he assured that security of lives and property of Lagosians would now be a top priority.
“I want to assure Governor Ambode that under my watch, you will have no cause for complaints or concerns. We will serve the people of Lagos with all our hearts and might. Let me use this opportunity also to warn criminals and hoodlums that it will not be business as usual.
“I also want to warn officers and men of the command that issues of human rights abuses, corruption, indiscipline generally will no longer be a slap on the wrists. The full weight of police regulations and the law will be meted out to anybody found wanting under my watch,” Edgal said.
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has been accused of extorting money, ranging from N10m to N15m, from Commissioners of Police, State Mobile Commanders and Special Protection Units (SPU) Commanders, for favourable postings.
IGP Idris also allegedly makes N10bn monthly from oil companies and other private individuals who enjoy special protection from the security agency.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Isah Hamma Misau, made these revelations on Friday, while addressing National Assembly Correspondents.
Misau said the level of corruption being perpetrated by the current Inspector-General of Police and the Chairman, Police Service Commission, IGP Mike Okiro (Rtd.), was so alarming and capable of undermining the anti-corruption stance of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“While the Police Service Commission could not deny the bribery allegation, information reaching me indicate that, even transfers of Commissioners of Police, State Mobile Commanders and SPU Commanders are also alegedly riddled in corruption.
“Some Commissioners of Police and State Mobile Commanders pay between N10m to N15m to get postings.
“There is also the allegation that more than 50,000 policemen are attached to oil companies, banks and private individuals with payments made to the Police authorities.
“These people pay as much as N10bn monthly. They are however unaccounted for”, Senator Misau stated.
He said, “Policemen are being attached to criminals who now go around blaring siren while doing all sorts of dubious activities”.
The Senator gave an instance where, one Obinna, a son of Senator Ifeanyi Ararume moves around with avalanche of Police extorts.
He alleged that Obinna was involved in road accident at Gana street, Maitama in Abuja last week, and had to descend on the victim whom he had accident with, under the supervision of the police attaché.
Senator Misau also accused IGP of posting a non experienced Commissioner of Police to be in charge of the war ravaged Adamawa Command.
He averred that, aside been an aide-de-camp (ADC) to the late former Governor Alamiesiegha and former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Adamawa CP, Moses Jitoboh had not had any professional experience since the last 17 years.